by GE McPherson, JR Simpson, Q Xiao, W Chunxia

Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-207. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, Albany, CA

This report on the Million Trees LA initiative seeks to establish a path for sustainable growth through the planting and stewardship of trees. The goal was to measure the current Los Angeles tree canopy cover (TCC) and use that information to determine if there is enough space for 1 million additional trees and the future benefits that could be derived from planting them. The tools used included remote sensing data (Quick high-resolution bird), aerial photographs, and a geographic information system (GIS). Once land cover types classified the sites, the TCC was measured, and potential new planting sites were identified; the authors focused on constructing scenarios to calculate annual benefits and monetary value. The research findings reported a current TCC in LA of 21 percent. There is enough space to plant 2.5 million trees, but only 1.3 million could be planted on suitable sites. The calculated benefits for the 35-year period were $1.33 billion (high mortality) and $1.95 billion (low mortality), and average annual benefits were $38 and $56 per tree planted. The benefits were then broken down: 81% aesthetic, 8% stormwater runoff reduction, 6% energy savings, 4% air quality improvement, and 1% atmospheric carbon reduction.
Region: Los Angeles, California
Publication Type: Technical report
Keywords: ecosystem services valuation, remote sensing, tree canopy cover, tree planting initiative, and urban forestry